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NC State Football

DOEREN: "We're down some pretty key players right now"

November 19, 2022

NC State football coach Dave Doeren met with the media Saturday night following the Wolfpack’s 25-10 loss to Louisville.

Note: Click the video in the player above to watch the press conference.

Opening statement…

Obviously we’re down some pretty key players right now with the injuries. The margin for error is pretty small, and I told the team going into this we’re gonna have to play really complementary football, not turn it over which we didn’t until that last play. If we won on special teams I thought we’d be in it to win it, and we didn’t; we gave up a kick return for a touchdown and that was the difference in the game. It caused us to have to call the game a little differently in the second half and go for it in some situations where we typically wouldn’t. I was disappointed we couldn’t get it on 4th and 1. They came up earlier and had their whole defense in there for a sneak, so I thought we’d be able to toss it and get around the edge and we didn’t get it done. I like the way our guys fight, a lot. I want to enjoy these next six days with the guys that we have and do everything we can to get ready for our rival.

On if he intended to play Ben Finley…

He had a great week of practice. We weren’t sure going into the week what it would look like, because he had been on the scout team and Jack [Chambers] had done some things for us. But MJ [Morris]’s arm didn’t look good throwing the ball in practice, and he got out there in warmups and same thing. With the wind blowing, it was blowing hard, I felt [Finley] gave us a better chance. He did some good things, he made some mistakes too. He’ll learn a lot from that. 

On the 4th and 1 play call…

Earlier in the game it was 3rd and 1 and we sneaked it, and their whole defense jumped into the A and B gaps and we barely got it. So I thought if we went heavy personnel and got under center, they’d do the same thing and we’d run around the edge. They didn’t. We still had a chance there but [Michael Allen] just got tackled. It’s a two-possession game at that point and I felt like we’d get the first down and go down and score. It was one of those calls where you second guess yourself but my philosophy on that is you go for it in that situation. That’s what I’ve always believed in.

On the kick return touchdown…

We’re kicking into the wind in that situation and we thought we’d get the ball on the ground like we did. Unfortunately the guys that were supposed to be in their lanes went to the ground and there was a big hole. If the ball was caught cleanly, we’d have had better lane integrity. They did a good job blocking us, it looked like we had some guys on the ground. Their guy made a heck of a play and we didn’t do a good job getting off blocks.

On the success of Louisville’s running game…

You can see our rotation isn’t what it normally is, we’re missing some guys. I’d have to watch the film and tell you why that happened. That’s what Louisville does, they’re gonna run the stretch. Today was a day you really had to live with the run game, it was tough to throw the ball.

On when he knew MJ Morris wasn’t gonna be able to play…

We knew Sunday that he’d be out this week. It’s a day-to-day thing so we’re just gonna take it one day at a time and listen to what the doctors tell us.

On the other injured players…

I don’t know. I’m not ruling anybody out, but I couldn’t tell you right now. We don’t know.

On if it’s overwhelming to have so many key players out…

Yeah it is. It’s very overwhelming. It’s unfortunate, we were sitting there with seven wins and still had a chance to get to 10, and now that’s out of reach. We’ve got a chance to play in six more games and the kids who are hurt will fight to get back and if they’re healthy enough they’ll play and if not, we’ll roll with who we have.

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